I’m Having Twins! What Do I Need to Know?

Posted by | September 09, 2018 | Lifestyle, Pregnancy Medicine, Stress | No Comments

If you are preparing for the joy of a new arrival – times two – then you might be wondering if there are differences you will experience during your pregnancy because of this. Multiple pregnancies are increasing in occurrence and there are certain things you need to know about having twins that will help you have the most enjoyable, healthy pregnancy possible.

Facts About Twins

Pregnancies with twins have their own unique challenges as well as unique ways the mother’s body responds to this extra demand.

Weight Gain in a Twin Pregnancy

You’re going to need at least 2,700 calories every day, but you’re not going to want to overeat or get those calories from treats and desserts. The typical twin pregnancy will mean that a pregnant mom gains between 35 and 45 pounds.

Because you’re carrying two babies and adding more weight, you’re probably going to be more uncomfortable than if you were just carrying one. Continue to exercise as prescribed by your doctor, and be sure to put your feet up when possible to reduce swelling in your feet and legs.

Vitamins and Minerals in a Twin Pregnancy

Don’t be surprised if your doctor prescribes extra vitamin or mineral supplements for your twin pregnancy. Your body will likely need extra folic acid, an important factor in reducing neural tube birth defects.

Increased Risks with a Twin Pregnancy

Preeclampsia, a condition marked by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and excessive swelling is more common in twin pregnancies. Preeclampsia, especially if left under- or un-treated can lead to a much more dangerous and potentially fatal condition known as eclampsia. Twin pregnancies also have higher incidences of gestational diabetes, a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Unfortunately, there are some conditions that are unique to multiple pregnancies that can be very threatening to the health of the unborn babies. One of these is twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), affecting identical twins. The placenta that is shared between the identical twins has abnormal blood vessels connecting the umbilical cords to the babies, or one twin might have an inadequate access to the placenta, meaning inadequate access to nutrients. There does not appear to be any way to prevent this condition and there are no known genetic risk factors for it.

In this condition one twin suffers from not enough nutrients and fails to grow, while the other twin is provided with too much circulating blood, making the heart work even harder. Chronic TTTS appears early in the pregnancy and tend to have poorer outcomes because the infants have too far to go before being viable at delivery. Acute TTTS happens later in the pregnancy, sometimes even during delivery, and while it can still have devastating effects, the twins have a greater chance for survival.

Preterm labor is perhaps one of the most known risk factors for twin pregnancies. Most moms carrying twins deliver between 36 and 37 weeks gestational age, and the minimum goal set by obstetricians is usually 34-36 weeks. The earlier the twins are born, the more likely health problems will arise, especially respiratory deficiencies from immature lungs. Sometimes mothers are prescribed bed rest to prolong the pregnancy, but that does not always ensure that preterm labor or delivery can be avoided.

A Healthy Twin Pregnancy

Even though there may be more challenges with a twin pregnancy, most moms who are pregnant with twins go on to deliver healthy babies. You’ll probably have many more visits with your obstetrician during these 9 months, but with your healthcare provider’s help, you can bring home double the joy at the end of this pregnancy adventure.

Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”